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Situated about 46 kilometers north of Trincomalee.

Girihandu Seya is reputed to be the first Buddhist temple built in Sri Lanka during the Lord Buddha's period and an important shrine where Buddhists worship in Sri Lanka. The recorded history of Girihadu Seya goes back to the 3rd century BC. 

An information inscription located on the site describes: “2661 years ago, two brothers, international traders named Tapassu and Bhalluka who offered some victuals to the Buddha, in the 8th week after his enlightenment. They are considered the first lay disciples of Lord Buddha who sought the refuge of the Master and the Dhamma. And on request the gifted them with a handful of sacred hair relic of the Lord Buddha, protected and brought it here and laid it in this Sthupa. This Sthupa which is called the Girihandu Seya was constructed and completed within 75 days of the enlightenment of the Lord Buddha. The ancient Kings, Girikandisiva and the 6th Agbo constructed the Vetadageya (circular shrine house) and the stone steps leading to this Vetadageya which is built on a little rock hill. This was the 1st Sthupa built in the world and the first Buddhist temple constructed in Sri Lanka. The Lord Buddha had stepped into this sacred place”.

As such this shrine would have been built during the lifetime of Lord Buddha. The present structure or the ruins of the vatadage (circular relic house)consisting of a small stupa encircled by two concentric circles of stone pillars and a retaining wall of stone slabs, however is believed to have evolved with time.

The four entrances at the cardinal points are provided with moon stones, makara balustrades and

naga guardstones . The moonstones are plain except for a lotus petal carving at the circumference. The guardstones are the most striking artistic feature. The Naga kings are depicted as having an air of austerity, not overloaded with jewellery and are benign in expression. According to scholars these qualities along with their elongated limbs suggest the Pallava style of art belonging to a phase earlier than Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa.

Another unusual feature here is the evidence of a wooden upright of a railing which may have covered the space between the top of the stone wall and the roof.

Around the vatadage are seen the remains of image houses of which the largest housed a large recumbent Buddha image.

On the terraces lower down the hill are ruins of monastic structures, ponds and 300 flights of steps leading to different levels. A stone bridge indicates that an ancient highway passed this site. Some rock caves bear early Brahmi inscriptions indicating the existence of a monastery even during pre-Christian times. The earliest datable inscription at the site is the pre-Christian Brahmi inscription recording the dedication of a cave to the Buddhist monks.

Feedback from valuable clients + See all

    "Dear Cyril, Thank you for truly amazing oneweek tour your beautiful country.We have seen so many amazing sites in such a short space of time. From Sigiriya to beautiful temples, Scenic tea gardens of Nuwaraeliya the colonial land ark hotel Mount Lavinia. We have seen so much more. You have made this an utterly memorable holiday with your expert knowledge, amazing, facinating stories, patience, careful+safe drivingand your unforgetable smile. We will cetainly recommonding your tours to all of fr..." Sara Kitson - UK

    "Dear Cyril, Yes that's the one that we were calling all the time. Her name is Celia and by now she has a little sister. My dear Cyril, of course we can't forget your companion and we are always telling about you when we are talking about our trip to Sri Lanka. I wish you good luck with your company and I hope that you will have whatever you want. I want to tell also that I was very happy when I learned that you are a grandfather now. Best regards, Chris Greece 26/07/2011" Cristos Pravitas - Greece

    "We had a great time on last 10 days in on our honeymoon in beautiful Sri Lanka. Thank you very much for the stories, the explanations, driving, tips, care and always with a smile. Big thanks for you Cyril. We had an amazing honeymoon in this beautiful island! and you are the best guide and friend that we could have here!!! We will sure tell our friends and family about the trip and you!!! We will stay in touch and may be one day meet you again. Oded & Carol Israel 10 Oct 2014" Naim & Coral Fisher from Israel

    "I want to thank Mr. Cyril for this 17 days long tour. He is an excellent chauffeur guide, always on time with a car more than the clean. He knows all the places in the Island and organized very well. Most of all, he is very kind person, always with a smile and ready to help. I want to reccommond him to all my friends. Ria Deleu Belgium Travel period 25 Jan 2020 - 10 Feb 2020 ( 17 days)" Mrs. Ria Deleu from Belgium

    "Dear Cyril, Here are some photos for you as we promised, and also little gift to you. Here is some photos of elephant boy which we were took on elephant ride. Please give to them when you go to Habarana again. We are very grateful to you for your services that you have done to make our holiday in this beautiful country. Still we are thinking over our nice trip with you. It was fantastic, really! Here in Holland, life is normal again. Greeting for your wife and daughter too. George and Cala ..." George and Cala

    "Dear Cyril, We would like to thank youthat you have arrange ourholiday which we have enjoyed so much, that we can call them the best holiday we have ever had. You are avery helpful guide- because you know about your beautiful country very much. We also appriciate your advices that you gave us during our two weeks long journey and your  perfect trip arrangement we have enjoyed every single day. All the best to you and your family. Hope to see you again. Martha & Jarda   08 No..." Martha & Jaroslav Jirout

    "We came for a wedding and then embarked on an amazing holiday. Cyril show us magnificent sights and scenery of Sri Lanka. To do the country just we need to return with more time. Many of the sites we visited just made us want to know more about them, even though Cyril was a fountain of knowledge. We have thoroughly enjoyed spending time with Cyril and his excellent company, and it was so nice to go home a guardian angel looking after us. He is consistently courteous & good humored and now fe..." Andy Powell UK

    "We had a exellent and memorable trip. That all credit to you Cyril.Indepth knowledge about the place, roads, Culture and history. Very matuared and patient. We were in very safe hands on all the time. Thanks a lot, mainly it's memorable expeirience for all of us. We always recomond CYRIL TOURS to our friends and relatives in Dubai and in India." Awdhesh Kumar and gruop

    "Thank you so much for wonderful Sri Lanka trip.We had a great time. The trip was very relaxing as well as fun. My daughter MAHI who lovingly started calling you "Cyril Dada"(grand farther) Had a memorable trip. She cannot stop talking about elephants. Our trip to Sri Lanka will be full of great memories, its because of you. Thank you for showing us your beautiful country the way we wanted, eating local food, lots of King coconut and Corn stops. We will be surely coming back  to see rest o..." Mithil Patel

    "Dear Cyril, We just got back to Singapore today...I am will be back to work tomorrow.. :) Sad but true ha ha……. We were very lucky to have you as our guide. I don’t think there will be anyone else who could have done an excellent job that you have done. We will spread the word around and will surely sell your keep in touch so we can work something out. Thanks for the photos they are great Will visit your website soon and put in some good words for you.. Ti..." Shuhanth Haridas from Singapore